For FOOD SERVICE PROVIDERS:
Lots of kale is grown all year long here in Massachusetts, but if you have any trouble finding kale, consider using another dark, leafy green such as swiss chard or spinach in these recipes.
Blurb for your school newsletter or menu:
In the cafeteria this month we’re featuring LEAFY GREEN KALE as our Harvest of the Month! Our school cafeteria is serving fruits and vegetables from local farms throughout this school year. Locally grown KALE will be featured in ___(dish)___ on __(date)______. To learn more about Massachusetts Farm to School Project’s Harvest of the Month program, visit http://www.massfarmtoschool.org/programs/harvest-of-the-month/.
Recipes for K-12 school lunches:
Kale is a super healthy and versatile vegetable. It’s wonderful served raw in salads, as a stir fry ingredient, in soups, or as tasty baked kale chips!
- Confetti Soup with Kale & Turkey (from USDA)
- Apple Cranberry Kale Salad (from Chop Chop/Minneapolis Public Schools)
- Apricot Walnut Kale Salad (from Manchester-Essex Schools)
- Sauteed Kale with Ginger and Soy (from Project Bread)
- Sue’s Minestrone Soup (from VT FEED)
- Crispy Kale Chips (thanks to Watertown Public Schools)
- Pasta Fazool (from Cambridge Public Schools)
- Braised Greens and Beans (from VT FEED)
- Cheesy Kale Bake (from VT FEED)
- Winter Vegetable Soup with Noodles (from VT FEED)
Recipes for college dining services:
Eat Your Greens…:
Get students excited about kale! Post these facts on your bulletin board or include them on your lunch menu (you can also find them on the back of our Kale Harvest of the Month Trading Cards).
- History: Kale has been grown for over 2,000 years. Thought to have originated in Asia or the Eastern Mediterranean, it became a staple crop in colder climates too, where it tolerates the snowy winters.
- Production: a member of the brassica family (along with cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts), kale thrives in cooler weather. It gets sweeter in flavor after the first frost.
- Fun Fact: Kale chips are a great way to enjoy this vegetable. Baked and seasoned, they make a crispy, healthy, satisfying snack.
- Fun Fact: There are many varieties of kale, including green, purple, and lacinato (also called “dinosaur”) kale.
- Nutrition: Kale is a nutritional superstar! It is high in vitamin K (1,300% of DV), vitamin A (350% of DV) and vitamin C (90% of DV) and rich in manganese, fiber and copper.
- Vitamin K helps to heal open-wound injuries by allowing the blood to clot around the wound and prevent excess bleeding or bruising. It also helps with bone health.
- Vitamin A/beta carotene supports good vision, a healthy immune system and cell growth.
- Vitamin C helps protect your immune system, heart, eyes and skin.
- Nutrition: For even more nutrition info check out This is Your Brain on Kale, from National Kale Day.
For TEACHERS AND SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS
Here are some ideas for how to integrate kale-themed activities into classrooms and school gardens.
Text for morning announcements
“Good morning students, this is _____, with November’s Harvest of the Month soundbite. This month we are featuring fresh, healthy, LOCALLY GROWN KALE in the cafeteria. Did you know that there are many varieties of kale? Some is green and curly, some is purple, and some is even called Dinosaur kale. Many of those varieties are grown right here in Massachusetts! Look for KALE grown at local farms (name the farm(s) you’re purchasing from, if you can) in school lunches this month.”
- Activity: Describing Kale Leaves (K-6)
- Activity: Salad Greens Worksheets (K-6)
- Explore local foods, plant parts and healthy eating with our Worcester Kindergarten Initiative Dehydrator Kale Chips activity.
- What is local food? A lesson exploring “where does my food come from?” from the USDA Team Nutrition’s Dig In! curriculum. With a focus on dark green leafy vegetables (like kale!), this lesson is a great classroom resource for grades 5 – 6.
- Oregon Harvest for Schools provides a great handout with links to curricula for K-12 — exploring winter-hearty greens, the components of leaves and making a kale salad (for early childhood and lower elementary); learning about government AND vegetables while “electing” components of a salad (upper elementary); science lessons on pH and some simple cooking in the classroom (middle school); and advocating for nutritious menu items in the cafeteria (high school).
- Edible Schoolyard has an 6th-grade garden lesson in which students prepare Kale Pesto.
- National Kale Day has a Kale Hero Toolkit which has activities such as leaf rubbings with kale to kale chromatography experiments. It also has some ideas for celebrating kale on college campuses.
School garden activities
- Indiana Department of Education has a Kale Toolkit for Food Day which has information about container gardening and pointers for growing kale, along with other information about celebrating Food Day.
- Plan your fall garden with this guide from KidsGardening.org and learn about growing cold tolerant vegetables such as kale.
For FAMILIES AND CAREGIVERS
Share this information and try a kale recipe at home!
- Download our kale newsletter for cooking tips and more information about kale.
- Have you cooked with kale at home? It’s an affordable, delicious, versatile, and nutritious vegetable! You can wash, chop, and toss kale into soups, or even serve it raw with your favorite salad ingredients. Our friends at West Tisbury Schools have published three easy recipes we think your family might enjoy:
- Kale with Raisins and Toasted Pine Nuts
- Crispy Kale (baked kale chips)
- Kale and Cheese Quesadillas
- Another Kale Chips recipe from ChopChop Magazine.
- Try Kale Pesto on pasta for a tasty dinner!
- Or use kale instead of cabbage for some great cole slaw from ChopChop Magazine.
- Tips for buying and preparing kale:
- Look for kale leaves that are thick, fleshy, and crisp.
- Avoid leaves that have turned yellow or brown.
- Store kale in the refrigerator in a sealed plastic bag.
- Once in the refrigerator, kale can last for several days.
- If the center stems are large, strip the leaves from the stem before eating.
Thank you to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources for helping to make Harvest of the Month possible.